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In Act 5, many primary character's lives are taken, including Queen Gertrude's. During the duel between Hamlet and Laertes, the Queen unknowingly drinks out of the poisoned cup, ment for Hamlet.
"No, no, the drink, the drink! O my dear Hamlet!
The drink, the drink! I am poison'd." (5.2.154)
In the Middle Ages, Queen's did not have the equal power that the King had. To become a Queen, you would have to wed a King or have some type of royal blood, which usually would mean having cousins marry eachother. But on a political stand point, they were just a pretty face to the male King's side. Besides the royalty and luxurious lifestyle, Queen's have no real realivence. Most times they would accept the role of the King's wife, but some would rebel, and try to manipulate their husbands into making specific decisions, and believe that their high ranking in soceity made them independent leaders.
The Queen's death is very siginficant because of how avoidable it could've been if she had'nt chosen to be rebelious. This is the first sign of her rebelious ways in the play. Claudius tells her not to drink the cup, knowing it is poisoned. For the first time in the play,Gertrude attempts to stand up for herself, and make an independent choice, and it gets her killed.
"I will, my lord, I pray you pardon me." (5.2.153)
After this tragic death, it begins a domino effect of other deaths. An inraged Hamlet after realizing his mother has been poisoned stabs the King and forces him to drink the poison. The queen's death is the final event for Hamlet to exact his revenge. This than leads to Laertes using his final breaths to ask for Hamlet's forgiveness, and forgives him for killing Polonius. The death of Hamlet's mother lets Laertes understand the losses that have occured in his twisted life, and uses his final words to apoligize to Hamlet.
"Here, thou incestuous, murd'rous, damned Dane,
Drink off this potion. Is thy union here?
Follow my mother." (5.2.155)
"He is justly serv'd.
It is a poison temper'd by himself.
Exchange forgiveness with me, noble Hamlet.
Mine and my father's death come not upon thee,
Nor thine on me." (5.2.155)
Queen Gertrude's death is a tragic death in Hamlet. It leads to Hamlet acting on his revenge, and kills the King. Aswell it makes Laertes forgive Hamlet and ask for forgiveness before he passes away. All these events happen very rapidly during Act 5, but all happen because of the death of Queen Gertrude.
Gill, Roma, OBE, ed. Hamlet. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1992. Print.
"English Women during the Feudalism of the Middle Ages." Women in the Middle Ages. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Nov. 2012. http://www.hyperhistory.net/